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Volume 12, issue 1
Ocean Sci., 12, 137–151, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-12-137-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Oceanographic processes on the continental shelf: observations...

Ocean Sci., 12, 137–151, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-12-137-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 18 Jan 2016

Research article | 18 Jan 2016

Temporal evolution of the momentum balance terms and frictional adjustment observed over the inner shelf during a storm

M. Grifoll1,2, A. L. Aretxabaleta3, J. L. Pelegrí4, and M. Espino1,2 M. Grifoll et al.
  • 1Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain
  • 2International Centre of Coastal Resources Research, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3US Geological Survey, Woods Hole, MA, USA
  • 4Departament d'Oceanografia Física i Tecnològica, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a single two-peak storm over the Catalan inner shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). Velocity measurements at 24 m water depth are taken as representative of the inner shelf, and the cross-shelf variability is explored with measurements at 50 m water depth. During both wind pulses, the flow accelerated at 24 m until shortly after the wind maxima, when the bottom stress was able to compensate for the wind stress. Concurrently, the sea level also responded, with the pressure-gradient force opposing the wind stress. Before, during and after the second wind pulse, there were velocity fluctuations with both super- and sub-inertial periods likely associated with transient coastal waves. Throughout the storm, the Coriolis force and wave radiation stresses were relatively unimportant in the along-shelf momentum balance. The frictional adjustment timescale was around 10 h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations. The momentum evolution at 50 m showed a larger influence of the Coriolis force at the expense of a decreased frictional relevance, typical in the transition from the inner to the mid-shelf.

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We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during the passage of a single two-peak storm over the Catalan inner shelf (NW Mediterranean Sea). At 24m water depth, a primary momentum balance between acceleration, pressure gradient and frictional forces (surface and bottom) is established. The frictional adjustment timescale was around 10h, consistent with the e-folding time obtained from bottom drag parameterizations.
We investigate the rapidly changing equilibrium between the momentum sources and sinks during...
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